Eng. Abraham Eliezer Salas Chávez – AMOCALI A.C. Regional Coordinator of the Campo Limpio program in Sinaloa

Eng. Abraham Salas is an Agricultural Engineer with specialization in soils and water. His professional beginnings were in the Godchildren’s Program of Nueva Agroindustrias del Norte Company, where he was involved in tomato production, assigned to Agroex company.

Eng. Salas was also involved with the Asociación de Agricultores del Río Culiacán and since 2018, he works for Amocali A.C., where he is currently a Regional Coordinator of the Campo Limpio Program in the State of Sinaloa.

1. What is the Campo Limpio program?

Campo Limpio is an environmental program ran by Amocali, A.C. and its purpose is to provide a proper layout of empty containers for agrochemicals and similar products. Based on the cornerstone of shared responsibility; that is, to involve all the players contributing to generate the container, starting from the one who conducts the imports, manufactures, maquila, distributes, trades or uses it.

It is important to note that in Mexico, empty agrochemical containers are considered a hazardous waste and this raises the need of having a specialized program in this area.

2. What strategies are being used to reinforce the program?

In order to promote the program, we must work with strategic allies, as we cannot carry out such huge task by working in isolation. Our focus is to join efforts, promoting training, dissemination, performing statistical analysis, and promoting the growth of the program to new areas.

3. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as the person in charge of the Campo Limpio Program?

The biggest challenge is to have all the members of the production chain to participate. Sinaloa has the first place at the national level in collection and final disposal of empty agrochemical containers and others. But with the support from everyone, we can do even more. That is why we invite growers, distributors, and associations to get involved in the program.

4. What are the benefits for the farming sector in Sinaloa to work with the program?

The benefit achieved goes way beyond the Sinaloa field. The countries buying products from our state are aware that companies involved in the Campo Limpio program are carrying out a strict food safety program. Such program allows companies to comply with the programs required to export products. Amocali not only promotes the Campo Limpio program for exporters, but also for companies that produce for regional and national marking. We must satisfy the growing demand for food, protect the economic interest of growers; and in the meantime, keeping our focus on social responsibility and our interest in caring for the environment. Collection centers receive containers not only from farmers, but also from urban pest controllers, vector control, municipalities, nurseries and all responsible users who wish to properly dispose containers. Disposing of empty agrochemical and other containers responsibly and legally, not only benefits farmers from Sinaloa, but also our future generations.

5. What are the benefits for farming companies to work with the Campo Limpio program in the subject of food safety?

It allows you to score points to comply with the export requirements demanded by certifying entities. Not only this but also, performing the triple wash technique allows you to get the most out of the agrochemicals and other substances being used. It helps promoting both environmental and health care for the people working with agrochemicals. Amocali A.C., will bear the costs of transfer and final disposal of empty containers. We promote training for farming personnel by providing them with certificates of our training that are valid before the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

6. What is the final destination of agrochemical containers collected from the field?

Once containers are conditioned in a Temporary Collection Center, they are sent to authorized companies for recovery or elimination of hazardous waste.

The final destination depends on the type of material; e.g., PEAD is the only material that can be recycled, as long as the containers are TRIPLE WASHED and the company is authorized to recycle hazardous waste and very importantly, it can only be performed with items NOT in direct contact with human beings or animals. Amocali, A.C. works with a company located in the State of Mexico.

The other materials cannot be recycled, and Amocali, A.C. pays for proper disposal, either by co-processing or controlled incineration.

7. Which actions do you perform to reinforce a culture to preserve containers with pollutants and eliminate bad practices?

Training is our best ally. We are aiming at avoiding improper practices. We want to prevent end users from burning, burying, or throwing away containers in an inconsiderate manner. Containers must be conditioned so they can be delivered to authorized Temporary Collection Centers to dispose of them properly. We rely on the media for massive promotion of good agricultural practices. This is why we understand the impact of the media, and appreciate the spaces we are given in magazines like Eleven Rivers. With your support we can bring the program closer to many users and awaken in them the interest of being actively involved.

8. What are the organizations you are working with in Sinaloa?

We work with various players; for example, with those who manage and operate the Customer Service Centers such as Asociación de Agricultores del Río Fuerte Sur, Asociación de Agricultores del Río Sinaloa Poniente, Asociación de Agricultores del Río Culiacán, Junta Local de Sanidad Vegetal del Valle del Évora, Junta Local de Sanidad Vegetal de Elota, Cosalá y San Ignacio, Junta Local de Sanidad Vegetal del Valle del Carrizo, Junta Local de Sanidad Vegetal del Municipio de Sinaloa, Junta Local de Sanidad Vegetal del municipio de Guasave.

Similarly, we work very closely with Comité Estatal de Sanidad Vegetal del Estado de Sinaloa, Servicio Nacional de Sanidad, Inocuidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria, Secretaría de Salud de Sinaloa and we are part of COESPLAFEST.

9. What are the future plans for the program?

The first purpose is increasing the percentages of container recovery. We will achieve this with the opening of new Temporary Collection Centers, encourage the involvement of more players and introduce new technologies to achieve a greater number of trained personnel.

Particularly in Sinaloa, we are waiting for the opening of 2 new Customer Service Centers with the support of our strategic allies; achieve the involvement of more farming companies and small growers, and continue joining efforts with different players to achieve a greater collection of empty containers.

10. Anything else you would like to add?

For companies and people who wish to contact us not only in Sinaloa but also across the country, here is our website: https://campolimpio.org.mx/ On this page you will find the nearest Collection Centers to you, the name of the coordinator in charge of said area, and contact information. If you are interested in getting involved and receiving training on the Campo Limpio program, please write to me at esalas@campolimpio.org.mx